The topic of Bulleid coaches has come to the fore again via a number of mediums. Firstly; the new Graham Farish Bulleid coaches in 2mm N gauge have hit the shops, a good review of them by Nigel Burkin can be found on the Model Railways Live website here. Secondly; current Model Rail magazine editor Ben Jones included a bit of crystal ball gazing in his editorial within the magazines Winter issue No. 191 mentioning that an upgrade of the now long in the tooth Bachmann 4mm Bulleid coaches as a possibility for being announced this year, on the basis of the additional research having been carried out for the all new Graham Farish versions.
The original Bachmann 4mm Bulleid coaches were first introduced back in 1993 and were before the level of detail on the subsequently introduced BR Mk1 coaches such as close coupling, flush glazing, separate water tank filer pipes / end handrails and finer underframe detail, it does leaves the Bulleid range slightly lacking. Further information on these models can be found on the page I wrote on the Southern Email Group website here.
Both the new Graham Farish and old Bachmann Bulleid coaches are based on the BR 1950’s built versions reflecting the type of underframe detail and the most obvious feature of the BR Built examples the 15″ deep window vents as opposed to the Southern Built versions with 10″ deep vents.
My modelling time frame of 1946 to 1949 therefore excludes the Bachmann versions so I have had to look elsewhere for the coaches in my fleet.
First up is 3 coach set no. 984 comprising of Bulleid 63ft Multidoor stock (i.e. a door for each compartment) first introduced in early 1946 built from the now unfortunately unavailable Southern Pride kits. This type of kit comprises of a pre printed colour overlay on a clear shell giving a near flush glaze effect. I have two of these three coach rakes although I do feel their version of malachite to be slightly on the bright green side of the spectrum. Although the Bulleid kits are no longer available from Southern Pride they are still a valuable source of coach detailing parts.
Following on from the multidoor stock, later in 1946, Bulleid introduced a new design layout with compartments no longer having individual doors and access being via the corridors and vestibules . These as explained above had 10″ deep ventilators which easily identifies them from the later BR built versions. Illustrated left is 2 coach set no.63, built from Southern Railway Group’s Phoenix (ex BSL) range of aluminum bodied kits, comprising of Semi open brake 3rd No. 4371 (kit reference SC50) and Brake Composite No. 6700 (SC51)
My Set no. 771 also built from SRG Phoenix kits comprises of Semi open brake 3rd No. 4303 (SC50), Corridor Composite No. 5752 (SC52) and Semi open brake 3rd No. 4304 (SC50) This is usually coupled to Set 63 when on Fisherton Sarum. Like the prototype I use buckeye couplings between my coaches in their rakes and screw couplings at the outer ends.
I confess to having built these some years ago now and they do still lack some further detailing such as door hinges and handles etc. that some day I will go back to and fit, but as when running on Fisherton Sarum they are viewed from the 6th away it does not get noticed (I now await the first person to make a comment at the next about it…). There are a few other variants of Bulleid coaches and some of these will be the subject of further posts as I have one of Bulleid’s first 3 coach multidoor sets on the workbench that were built on Maunsell style 59ft underframes.
I can not say at this point if Bachmann will update their 4mm Bulleid coaches or not but If they do my guess is that they will still, as per the Graham Farish range, be the later 1950 BR built versions.